Accessing confidential microdata from the NLSY studies


Dr. Anastasia Snyder, Department of Human Sciences
Rank at time of award: Associate Professor


In 2012 I received an IPR seed grant to organize the NLSY data files from the 1979 and 1997 cohorts for a project studying migration during the transition to adulthood in the U.S. across two cohorts.  Numerous prior studies have examined the transition to adulthood, trajectories in adulthood, and overall well-being, but none have focused on the role that migration plays in that process.  So far my graduate student, Joy Jang, and I have produced several papers (Jang & Snyder, under review; Snyder & Jang, 2013; Jang, Casterline & Snyder, 2013) using the public and geocode files to measure migration and other life course outcomes. We have created extensive migration variables based on the distance each respondent moves and the FIPS codes for county and state of residence. Although the geocode files allow us to differentiate between-county migration from residential mobility within the same county, which has been rarely studied before, there are aspects of migration that we are currently unable to measure, and more detailed information is required to investigate migration trajectories over an individual’s lifetime.  In July 2012 we applied to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for access to the confidential microdata files and were finally granted access in March 2013.  In order to use these data, however, we need to travel to the BLS, located in Washington, D.C., and conduct data analysis on site.  This proposal is for funds to support our travel to access these data.  Below I outline the current measurement problems we are facing, the variables available in the confidential microdata files that will solve these measurement problems, and a timeline for traveling to the BLS to access these data.